Focus on Yacht Design – Matteo Polli


Matteo Polli

Following on from our recent series on choosing a blue water yacht, Grabau International nows turns attention to the arena of modern yacht design. In the first of what we hope will be a really interesting series of interviews, we put ten questions to Matteo Polli of Matteo Polli Yacht Design.

Matteo Polli was born in the  town of Gorizia close to the Slovenia border in 1980 and spent his early years sailing dinghies in the Gulf of Trieste. Through his passion for racing and performance & racing yacht design, Matteo has developed systems for performance analysis through which he can get important data and information to be used at the design stage for optimization for handicap racing under ORC and IRC rules. A classic example of this methodical approach to design and handicap optimization was the M37 project which went on to win three ORCi World Champion titles and two ORCi European titles. The follow-up Italia 9.98 continues this winning streak with the 2015 ORCi World Championship title.


How did you first get into sailing?

I started sailing dinghies very early with an Optimist and then to a Laser where I competed at a national level. I then passed on crewed boats of any size, but my real passion remains on single-handed and I currently sail a Musto Performance Skiff.

What drew you to become a yacht designer?

My very strong passion for the sea and the physics behind the way of using the natural forces to explore this element.

Where did you train?

After studying naval architecture at the Nautical Institute of Trieste, I went on to study Yacht and Powercraft Design at Southampton Solent. Since then I have been working with other designers like Roberto Starkel and Maurizio Cossutti where I had the chance to learn a lot, but I have also improved my skills by testing the boats on which I have worked myself.

Name a few of your designs that you are particularly proud of and why.

Of course the Italia 9.98 and Italia 12.98 being the most recent and successful of my designs, but also the M37 which I have co-designed with Maurizio Cossutti.

Any exciting new projects you are able to tell us about?

I am working on a new 45 racer-cruiser concept and few optimizations for handicap racing

Your favourite design from another yacht designer and reasons why?

I personally really like the Cookson 50 designed by Farr because it is a real all round boat that can sail in any condition very efficiently. She can be used for fast cruising as well as pure racing, my ideal boat.

What’s next for cruising yacht design?

What I would like to see in future cruising yachts is the use of technology and innovation to make sailing experience more enjoyable instead of pushing just on the comfort side.

What are your favourite recent developments in yachting?

Foils are the most remarkable development in the very last years, but I specifically like these systems when applied to monohulls instead of multihulls.

What yacht can you usually be found sailing aboard?

My Musto Performance Skiff of course, when I am not sailing the Italia 9.98.

If you hadn’t become a naval architect, what career path might you have taken?

I would be surely involved in the maritime business anyway, but who knows…


M37 - Matteo Polli

The Polli & Cossutti designed multi World Championship winning M37 – LOW NOISE

Italia 9.98 - Matteo Polli

The Polli designed Italia Yachts 9.98

Italia Yachts 12.98 8 (2)

The Polli designed Italia 12.98

For further information about Polli Yacht Design, click on the logo below

Polli Yacht Design


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